G7 leaders meet amid fear of a global trade war

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks on the phone in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks on the phone in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington

Trump's abbreviated stay at this Quebec resort saw him continuing the same type of tough talk on trade as when he departed the White House, accusing the summit's host, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, of being "indignant".

The G7 leaders will meet in a luxury cliff-top hotel in the town of La Malbaie, about two hours' drive from Quebec City.

"And so began a long litany of recriminations, somewhat bitter reports that the United States was treated unfairly, that the trading system was totally unfavorable to the United States, the American economy, American workers, the middle class", the official said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has predicted the talks at the G-7 on Friday and Saturday will be heated because of the American stance on trade.

French President Emmanuel Macron and Mr Trump, who exchanged terse Twitter messages ahead of the G7 summit, had a brief "very cordial" discussion about trade and North Korea upon arrival in Quebec, a French official said.

World leaders from the group of the seven richest nations are set for a dramatic showdown with the firebrand Republican as they pressure him to lift levies on steel and aluminium.

"As Canadians, we are polite, we're reasonable, but also we will not be pushed around", Trudeau said, and he described all seven leaders coming together to sign a joint declaration despite having "some strong, firm conversations on trade, and specifically on American tariffs". "We have a little test every once in a while when it comes to trade". Macron, who appeared to have built a warm relationship, said the "G6" leaders would not spark a fight at the summit.

While the Trump administration has characterized their rift as a family quarrel, his fellow leaders appear to be itching for a fight with a USA president - the G7's traditional patriarch - during the two-day summit in the Canadian countryside.

Vladimir Putin wants to have a summit with Donald Trump
Earlier Saturday, the German government posted on Twitter a photo that shows the leaders and aides. He sees every relationship, whether among people or nations, in zero-sum terms.

Pleas by the G7 member countries for exemptions from the USA steel and aluminum tariffs, which went into effect on June 1, have fallen on deaf ears in Washington.

French leader Emmanuel Macron stressed however that the USA was no longer the sole economic superpower in the world and urged other industrialised countries to stick together. If you look at what Canada, and Mexico, the European Union - all of them - have been doing to us for many, many decades ...

Germany has suggested making accommodations over trade with the United States for fear of triggering a ratcheting up of tensions over cars that would embroil companies like BMW and Mercedes.

The US president in an earlier tweet on Thursday said that Canada and France are charging the US massive tariffs and creating "non-monetary barriers".

Japan is also expected to take a less confrontational approach than its G7 peers, while still quietly pressing its case on trade. British Prime Minister Theresa May urged the European Union to stick to World Trade Organization rules and to ensure that any response to the tariffs was proportionate. Intense diplomacy from Europe to save an global nuclear agreement with Iran also failed.

A French presidential source said Mr Trump's proposal did not seem "coherent" in view of the latest economic sanctions imposed by the United States on Moscow. "Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors requested that the United States Secretary of the Treasury communicate their unanimous concern and disappointment". They have recovered somewhat, but are still vulnerable and Italy's new government is also a risk.

Fears of a looming trade war were heightened last week after all the G7 nations announced plans to retaliate against Trump's tariffs with tariffs of their own.

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